Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thoughts after winter rain

Our rain gauge indicates that we have received about 3-3/4 inches of rain. For a while on Thursday morning, the Mississippi River appeared to be passing through our back yard. The water was running about a foot deep. Fortunately, we live on a little hill. Things are returning to normal, though. In the early afternoon, the clouds parted to let the sun shine on us. Atlanta’s chief source of water, Lake Lanier, is reported to have risen almost a foot, but the drought around here is a long way from being over.

On Thursday, it reached sixty degrees. This morning it was twenty-seven. The phrase “global warming” seems to be falling out of favor and people now speak of “climate change” instead. Maybe they have a point. The climate does seem to be changing. This week it snowed in Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

That photo is not Houston or New Orleans. My blogger friend Jeannelle of Iowa (not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Richard the Lion-hearted) was the photographer and she gave me permission to post it here. Jeannelle and her husband live on a dairy farm a few miles from the little town of Readlyn, Iowa, home of “857 friendly people and one old grump,” according to the sign at the edge of town. That isn’t Readlyn in the photo either. According to Jeannelle, “Between our farm and Readlyn is a teeny-weeny town called Klinger. A general store is there, surrounded by a cluster of eight houses and assorted sheds, and a very smelly hog barn.” Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Klinger, Iowa, population about 12.

I’ll bet the “very smelly hog barn” in Klinger can’t hold a candle to where I lived fifty years ago. After my Dad and I moved away from the town I grew up in, he married my stepmother and we lived on Denton Tap Road in the northwest corner of Dallas County, Texas, between the village of Coppell, population 600, and the town of Lewisville, which was not much bigger. Across what was then just a two-lane, country road, like the one in the photo, there was a farm with several hundred hogs owned by a medical doctor who was on the Dallas County Board of Health. He was not held in high regard locally. All the money he spent building concrete wallows for his hogs and paying people to hose them down daily didn’t help at all. That farm stunk up the entire neighborhood. In fact, every morning when my stepbrother Eddie opened his eyes and smelled the stench, he promptly threw up.

But even that hog farm paled in comparison to what is absolutely the worst smell my nose has ever encountered, a turkey farm between Coppell and the small town of Grapevine. Passing that turkey farm every weekend on my drive home from college really opened up the old nostrils. Today the entire area is covered with affluent suburbanites in their mansions. Living over turkey and hog poop. If they only knew.

I really don’t know why my thoughts should go from rain to snow to the smells of yesteryear to urban sprawl, but I have a theory. Daily assaults on one’s olfactory system during one’s youth can permanently damage one’s brain. So be careful, little nose, what you smell.

I do not have a photo of Coppell to show you, but here’s another one of Klinger:


  1. I don't know how your ended up singing the praises of the weather to the smelly hogs and turkeys of the world but it brought back a memory to me. So all must be good. Years ago there was a hog farm along Interstate 84. The pigs were housed in an old army base bunker and believe me driving in 100º weather with the windows down made your eyes water.

  2. Ooops! I should proof what I write before hitting the send button. I meant "I don't know how you ended up singing..."

  3. I loved the stream of consciousness nature of this post.

    I'll bet those people living on the old turkey soil have the more fertile soil.

  4. The photo of Jamie Farr was an appropriate ending to a discussion of things "Klinger." :)

    Living, or driving, downwind from any sort of large-scale animal compound is a real treat...not! Doesn't even have to be large-scale. I have not-so-fond olfactory memories of the barn and pig-pen at our little farm.

  5. Nice post, Rhymsie! Cute photo of Klinger.

    On the subject of Iowa connections....and M*A*S*H, you should go read blogger Reamus' post about Radar O'Reilly's hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa....AND....hold onto you hat.....your favorite, The Field of Dreams. Here is a link to the post:

    Field of Dreams/Radar O'Reilly